OUR VIEW: No surprise, Hoosiers continue to get bigger
August 15, 2012
Muncie Free Press
It's hard to imagine the statistics getting worse, but that's exactly what happened this week. Yet another dataset confirms that we Hoosiers are fat.
Indiana now ranks eighth in the nation in a health analysis by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Indiana tied with South Carolina with an obesity rate of 30.8 percent. Last year the state ranked 15th in the nation. Data for the report came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It really doesn't matter whether Indiana ranks 15th or eighth; the result is the same. We're unhealthy because we're unwilling to make necessary lifestyle choices for the better. We're too addicted to fast food available at all hours of the day and night, we're too hooked on sugary drinks, we make poor lifestyle choices and we're getting far too little physical activity.
The result: We're fat and our children are fat because we set poor examples for them to follow. These poor health choices will result in greater health care costs as obesity-related diseases take their toll. Count among them high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary disease and cancer. Factor in that added girth takes its toll on the body's joints and can often end in premature death.
State Health Commissioner Gregory Larkin said obesity affects people's quality of life and productivity, as well as insurance and health-care costs. "Communities have to realize that they have to provide an environment where the healthy choice is more readily available to citizens," he said.
Well, Muncie and Delaware County should be considered among the leaders in that field. Here's just two examples. The YMCA of Muncie is signing people up for Operation Fit, to begin on Sept. 4 at all of its county locations and the Blackford County Y. Launched two years ago, Operation Fit lets people begin a fitness program in a group setting instead of on their own.
Peer support and camaraderie increases the chance for success, and that leads to developing permanent healthy habits. Operation Fits helps people realize their goals and gets them comfortable in a gym setting. It's a good place to begin a fitness regimen.
The second example is Walk Indiana, which will take place on Sept. 8 on the Cardinal and White River greenways. It's a noncompetitive walk offering quarter-, half- and full-marathon distances. (A full marathon is about 26 miles.) The cost to participate is just $35, with children under 12 able to walk for free with a paid adult. All proceeds go to Cardinal Greenways.
What's great about this event, besides the beautiful scenery and friendship, is you get to walk at your own pace, with plenty of rest and snack stops along the way.
Pick a distance that is challenging, but still doable. The deadline to register is Aug. 31.
There are other opportunities throughout East Central Indiana to change your lifestyle for the better. But it takes a willingness to make a change. There are no quick fixes to reverse what can be years of unhealthy lifestyle.
The question is, are you willing to commit to change?
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